Technical Thoughts: Sentieo’s Alexa Skill and the Three Fundamental Laws of Voice User Experience $AMZN $GOOGL $AAPL

Sentieo’s Alexa Skill is live! We present some thoughts from our technical team recapping our experiences for the benefit of those who are keen on considering the future of computer interfaces.

For Voice User Interfaces (VUIs) to have any chance of success, the future direction of Voice User Experience (VUX) will be strongly tied to physical, not software, constraints.

The three features of these will be:

1) At least 100 words per minute (wpm) input

2) close to 200wpm output

3) under 250ms response time.

We are nowhere close.

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Casper is no friendly ghost.. just ask $TPX

The rise of “mattress in a box” startups like Casper, Tuft and Needle, and Leesa is gaining steam and has potential to up-end traditional mattress businesses. This threat has been discussed for some time — the red bars in the chart below show document mentions of Casper, Tuft and Needle and Leesa in documents tagged to legacy mattress companies. Legacy companies’ stock prices peaked just as document mentions of the non-traditional players became more prevalent.


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Fresh from Sentieo Mad Science Labs: Introducing the Sentieo Alexa Skill

When we say we want you to have your financial information wherever you go, we weren’t kidding. Whether AR or VR, autonomous vehicles or drones wins the next platform race, we think voice interaction is the future of human-computer interaction. So the mad scientists at Sentieo Mad Science Labs have put together the most data-packed stocks skill available on the Amazon Echo and released it into the wild, completely free to you.

Madness, you say?

Note: for a more serious discussion of where we think voice interfaces will go in the near future, head over to our Technical Thoughts.

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ASNA 4Q miss, Stock Plunges by 25%: Evidence of Retail Bloodbath

Ascena Retail’s stock was down 25% on Tuesday after reporting disastrous 4Q16 results. The comp store sales declined -5% in 4Q16 vs. consensus estimate of -2.3% and EPS came in at $0.08 vs. consensus estimate of $0.16. Further, the company guided for a -1% to -2% comp store sale growth for FY17, despite weak comps in FY16. We use Sentieo’s plotter tool to track the revenue estimates and stock price for ASNA, and note a severe downward revision after yesterday’s results.

We highlighted in our previous blog post that the retail sector is going through a rough patch due to digital disruption, weak consumer sentiment (driven by election fears), and commodity deflation, leading to a series of bankruptcies and store closures.

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$GOOGL Trips Goes Native: When will $AMZN buy $TRIP?

We have spent the past day playing around with the new Google Trips native app. Reviews have been effusive, with titles like “killer travel app” (The Verge) and “a free, full-time travel guide” (TechRadar). The user interface is a breath of fresh air and matches the clean aesthetic we’ve come to know and love from Google, but it doesn’t make us run out and short TripAdvisor right away. Unlike the Chinese OTA sector, where the two industry leaders $QUNR and $CTRP literally threw billions at each other before finally making peace, the Western “TripAdvice” industry is bifurcating and this is the reason why $GOOGL and $TRIP will coexist peacefully in the medium term. In the long term, $TRIP will probably not exist as an independent entity. We explore why it could be worth more to $AMZN instead.

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Retail Bloodbath: Parsing the Cyclical, Electoral, and Structural Triple Threat

The retail sector is going through a rough patch due to digital disruption, weak consumer sentiment (driven by election fears), and commodity deflation, leading to a series of bankruptcies and store closures. According to Sentieo’s document search, retailers are facing the toughest of times – evidenced by drastically increased rates of store closures, and putting into question the very survival of these firms.

Bankruptcy and store closures trending higher vs. 2008 recession period

The American retail landscape has seen a host of bankruptcies (Aeropostale, Sports Authority, Sports Chalet) and store closures in the last couple years. Macy’s recently announced the closure of 100 stores in FY17, followed by 40 closures in FY16.

We did a document search in Sentieo of all retailers for the term “Store closure.” As seen in the graph below, the mention of “store closure” by retailers is trending higher vs. the 2008-09 recession and the 2012 election, highlighting the ongoing bloodbath in the retail space.


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Major Update: All Roads Now Lead To The Sentieo Mobile App

Download links: iPhone | iPad | Android

We are very excited to finally roll out minor updates for Android and major updates across our suite of iOS apps. Alongside enterprise-level security upgrades (please ask your sales representative if this is of interest) and highly requested Stream/Watchlist updates, we wanted to highlight three ways we have completely blown open access:

  1. Deeplink from Sentieo Edge to the app
  2. One-touch access from your Notification Center to the app
  3. Clip any articles or PDFs to Sentieo through the app

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Americans cut their spend as election fears loom – Part 1

As the race to the U.S. presidential elections is underway, we take a look at sectors being impacted most by the 2016 election season. Generally, in the run-up to an election, consumers tend to cut back on discretionary expenditures due to the uncertainty around the political climate.

Measuring in Quantitative Terms

One such sector feeling the heat is the Restaurant sector – both casual dining and quick service restaurants. We did a document search in Sentieo with the term “Elections” for restaurant companies. The first thing we noticed was that the mention of the term “Elections” during 2016 has been 50% more than that during the 2012 election period.


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Sentieo: The Gandalf of Document Search Wizards

10k Wizard (as loyalists insist on calling the clunkily renamed “Morningstar Document Search”) closes its doors on Aug 31st. Intelligize, the legal search platform, struck an endorsement deal with them, leaving financial users out in the cold. Consequently, we have been fielding a ton of questions as to how we match up as a 10K Wizard alternative, and thought it would be wise to collate our thoughts here.

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7 Tips for Hacking Conference Season

It’s That Most Wonderful Time of the (Quarter)

After recovering from the madness of earnings, buyside analysts have the pleasure of getting up face to face with company management in regular conference seasons organized by their sellside partners. These are usually spectacularly well-run affairs, as the sellside has made a great business out of combining management access and industry schmoozing. Once a quarter, cloistered buysiders emerge from their intense skyscraper offices, blinking in the daylight, and decamp to airports and hotels on either coast. It is an entirely different skillset, as one has to switch from trading stocks to trading meeting schedule; from the neat rows and columns of Excel to loosely structured “fireside” chats; from meeting familiar people on your own terms to rapidly gaining rapport with strangers on theirs.

Sellside analysts, too, apart from being part time party planners, have to bring their absolute A game as they play host to invited management teams as well as demanding clients, all of whom expect the analyst to match names to faces and have facts and key arguments ready at their fingertips. Many sellsiders even go the extra mile to organize field trips to company headquarters, increasing the logistical nightmare by an order of magnitude.

Oh, and while all this is happening, the markets are still open.

The Why

Why go to all this trouble when everything material, by regulation, needs to be publicly and widely disseminated anyway? The trite reply is that more than 90% of communication is nonverbal; but ultimately what really counts is being able to ask your own questions of management teams and having their replies truly inform your judgment of their strategy and competitive environment. Cynics will also point to the buyside schmoozing that goes on on the sidelines – and it doesn’t hurt to gain some personal benefit out of trading commission dollars.

This is big business; the going rate per meeting organized can get up to four figures, which multiplied by dozens of meetings and hundreds of participants can justify a lot of late nights. But the worst kept secret of Conference Season is that there is a ton of wastage, and we don’t just mean food.

Sentieo Helps You Focus on The How

Here are 7 things the modern analyst needs to be doing to get the most out of conference season:

  1. Offline Sync Everything
    • WiFi is unreliable in conference rooms and on planes. Why take the risk? You need your notes, financial model, and Q’s/K’s/Transcripts at your fingertips.
    • Sentieo’s iPad (and soon, iPhone) app allows you to offline sync all the above and more.
    • Now when the CFO dodges a question with “I don’t have the numbers in front of me right now”, you’ll have them.
  2. Search through prior transcripts
    • Asking a question that has already been answered is a waste of everybody’s time. Avoid the embarrassment and go on the offensive by demonstrating that you not only are you aware that the question has been asked in the past, you are pressing for more detail and asking them to directly compare their situation now to what they have said in the past.
    • DocSearch is a core Sentieo use case and we are the best platform at highlighting and integrating all your search results into one meeting prep document you can take with you to all your meetings.
  3. Use Plotter to illustrate the points you want to make
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  4. Modern Notetaking Software
    • Hands up if you are using Microsoft Outlook as your primary notetaking app? Or the generic Notes app on your Apple or Android device? Or -god forbid- legal pads?
    • Sentieo’s Notebook, available on all devices, allows you to tag inline stock ideas and themes as you type and sync to Evernote, OneNote, or your internal compliance tool of choice. Share it with your team automatically or in just a couple of taps. Pull in everything from Transcript annotations to Plotters to Web Clipper articles into your Notes!
    • Get in touch with us if you currently use voice notes.
  5. Play With Your Model While Discussing It With Management
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  6. Keep up to speed on the markets with Sentieo Edge and the Sentieo Edge Digest
    • Staying on top of your coverage is tough when you are rushing from meeting to meeting. Having a filter for what is important and market moving is critical so you remain as functional outside the office as when you are in, without drowning in a flood of email backlog.
    • Sentieo Edge can send you automated premarket and postmarket summaries of news, filings, and alerts all in one email. Choose between the daily Digest, or get the full Edge on your entire universe.
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  7. Set up Keyword Alerts
    • How do you keep on top of what is being said in other meetings you aren’t attending?
    • Sentieo lets you set up Keyword Alerts for the themes you are listening for, so if they get mentioned in conference transcripts, you get a realtime notification.
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  8. Bonus – Share Sentieo with your friends
    • Friends don’t let friends do conferences without Sentieo. Refer new customers to us and get referral bonuses for you and your friends! Check in with your favorite sales rep for more details.

To see how Sentieo can help with conference season, simply go to and sign up for a free trial. If you would like to continually receive content related to topics of interest in the markets, don’t forget to subscribe to the Sentieo Blog so that we can notify you of new posts by e-mail. 

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